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Alle-Kiski Tuesday takes

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Monday, March 24, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

Fair assessments: Our school boards complain about the lack of funding, but don't do anything to make sure property assessments are fair. VND research found some districts compare sales prices with assessments and if they're badly out of line, appeal the assessment. But our story Sunday showed most never do this. Everyone should pay his fair share. Too bad many boards don't care about that. But the real issue here remains a faulty assessment system in all four of our counties, where politicians have perverted the assessment process. This is particularly true in Westmoreland and Butler counties; it's been more than 40 years since each reassessed.

Allergies: If anyone is looking for one more reason to complain about our rotten winter, here it is. Even though winter's over (supposedly), the immense wetness and warmer weather mean this year's allergy season will be way worse than normal. It's already underway and will last well into June.

Boo-hoo-hoo: Customers of Highmark Inc., the health insurance giant, learned over the weekend that last year's combined total compensation for the “nonprofit's” CEO, William Winkenwerder, was $4.3 million — not including retirement or those ubiquitous “deferred payments.” Nine other Highmark employees made more than $1 million each. One compensation consultant says Mr. W. actually runs a company twice as big for half the pay when compared to “for-profit” companies. Pass the tissues.

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